Reunited following their collaborative funding of a $3 million investigation to determine how the religious community would respond to the discovery of life in outer space—-NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and John Templeton Foundation, directly and through Templeton-funded entities: Templeton World Charity Foundation and ELSI Origins Network, are principal supporters of a Royal Society year-end publication that seems to want to redefine “life” in order to justify further adventures (space as well as lab).
Titled: “Re-conceptualizing the origins of life,” theme issue 2109 of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A is really all about re-conceptualizing the living state. Manipulating the definition for what “life” is is the easiest way to ensure that you find “life” where you want to find it in the universe (that would include inside synthetic cell labs).
What I’m saying is that by expanding the definition for what life is—-beyond biology—-as active matter, live systems, whatever—as suggested in the Royal Society origins issue—-scientists seem to be embarking on a kind of fantastic voyage, clearly in contrast to what investigators not affiliated with the Royal Society issue have told me in recently published interviews about the days of origins fishing trips being over. More.
Maybe it’s a bit like that guy the cop found crawling around on his hands and knees on Main Street. And the cop, thinking him drunk, asked, “What are you doing?”
The guy said, “I lost a five dollar bill on Maple Street.”
“And you’re looking for it here?”
“Of course. There’s more light here.”
Well, the conference venues will probably be nice and each paper will have its moment in the sun. Here’s the edition of the journal.
Note: Mazur is the author of Origin of Life Circus, an introduction to competing theories of the origin, in the words of the researchers themselves. This includes people like the late Carl Woese, Denis Noble, and James Shapiro.
See also: Steve Benner: Origin of life field beset by shortage of ideas, science by overflow of consensus
Suzan Mazur: NASA, tax dollars, space aliens, and religion… Of course, it’s yet to be determined that most religious people have much invested in the matter one way or the other, relative to their irreligious neighbours.